Recent Posts in holiday music
December 14, 2012
It's possible that we met Barbara Manning on the same day in 1990 that we met James and Joe Puleo. We were booked at Providence's Rocket with World of Pooh, featuring Barbara on bass, and Christmas, in new bassist James McNew's first show. So it was especially meaningful to us that, after a few years of playing hard to get, Barbara was available to open night six...Former San Francisco Seals singer Barbara Manning and Eugene Mirman were openers on the sixth night of Yo La Tengo's annual Hanukkah Week shows which last night benefited the Ali Forney Center. The mix CD was made by Cory Rayborn of Three Lobed Recordings.
...With the Hoboken PATH station closed, people are having to be extra creative about how they get to Maxwell's. On night five, John Oliver revealed a heretofore untried method that involved a train to Secaucus (not recommended) and last night, Eugene Mirman described a route that no GPS would concoct unless the current model, in addition to helping you avoid tolls or find the shortest distance, offers to take you where you're most likely to be murdered. Fortunately for us, and certainly Eugene, he lived to tell us about his local Guitar Center, where he's the two most famous shoppers, and the difference between stairs in England and the U.S. - [YLT]
We're in the home stretch now with two night's left. Who will open tonight? Jeff Tweedy is in town, having appeared on The Colbert Report last night. Then again, Titus Andronicus just tweeted this: "Tonight, every New Jersey indie rocker's dream comes true for @titus_ndronicus. #STAYTUNED."
Any oddsmakers out there?
Setlist from last night, plus the mix CD cover are below.
November 21, 2012
It's that time of year again, judging by the posts on this site today, with lots of Holiday-themed shows coming up. Unsurprisingly, The Bell House lives for this kind of yuletide cheer and has about a dozen or so holiday shows lined up in the next month. Here's a rundown.
First is the Everything's Terrible! Holiday Special 2012 which happens December 12 (tickets). If you think the Star Wars Holiday Special is the worst Christmas-related thing television has ever birthed, the Everything's Terrible folks will likely prove you wrong. For an early taste, there's a trailer for the crap extravanga below, along with a list of all dates for this ironic roadshow which is touring both coasts at the same time.
On the next night (12/13) it's The Party Machine's 2nd Annual Holiday Benefit Blowout with hosts Arden Myrin and Lisa Delarios with guests Jon Glaser, Chris Gethard, Sheng Wang, Janeane Garofalo and Adira Amram & the Experience with proceeds going to Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue and Red Cross Disaster Relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Tickets are $12 and still available but probably not for long -- don't delay.
More funny stuff (with music): On December 16, Fred Armisen hosts The Snow Ball Ball: A Winter Formal To Benefit 826NYC, with guest DJs Tunde Adebimpe and Peter Hale of Here We Go Magic. Tickets are still available.
And for ska fans there's The Slackers Christmas Celebration on 12/22 which also celebrates the band's 20th anniversary. The show also features The Frightnrs, Sammy K, and Caz & the Day Laborers. Tickets are still available.
Wait there's still more holiday fun at The Bell House: for burlesque fans there's Doc Wasabassco's Birthday Celebration And All-Holiday Party on 12/14 (tickets); for the wizards and muggles out there, you can celebrate at The Harry Potter Yule Ball 2012 on 12/15 with Harry And The Potters, Potter Puppet Pals, The Whomping Willows, and The Home Alones (tickets); later that night (12/15) it's The Rub's Holiday party with Eleven & Ayres and special guests Kon & 7L' and for those who need some twang in their stocking, on December 16 it's The Suzi Shelton Band's Fourth Annual Rockin' Holiday Party with Amelia Robinson From Mil's Trills (tickets).
Everything Is Terrible trailer and flyer for the Snowball Ball are below.
November 20, 2012
The National at Beacon Theater in 2011 (more by David Andrako)
The National are no longer settling for merely having their songs from old albums placed in every episode of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. The Brooklyn band are now active parcipants in the TV game. Earlier this year, the band recorded a version of "Rains of Castamere" (which appears, lyrically, throughout George R.R. Martin's 'Song of Ice and Fire' series) for HBO's Game of Thrones. Now in one week, the band has contributed songs to two more Sunday night shows.
First, while their version doesn't actually appear in the episode, The National cover "Thanksgiving Song" which features in the holiday episode of Bob's Burgers (as sung by Bob's wife, Linda, it's a good episode). It's a typically somber take gives gravitas to the line "kill the turkey" that certainly wasn't there in original. Compare and contrast the two versions in a video (via Vulture) below.
Then they contributed a closing credits cover of a 1924 song, "I'll See You in My Dreams," to this week's episode of Boardwalk Empire. The series has done this before -- Regina Spektor, Nelly McKay and Saint Vincent have contributed covers too in the past. Listen to it below (via Fuck Yeah! The National).
Speaking of TV shows starring Eugene Mirman (Bob's Burgers), Eugene will be hosting a free premiere viewing party for his new one-hour Comedy Central special "Eugene Mirman: An Evening of Comedy In a Fake Underground Laboratory" at The Bell House in Brooklyn on 12/14. Party starts at 11pm. Meanwhile, catch Mirman at the same venue this Sunday (11/25), and then at Symphony Space on 12/7 (both benefits).
Streams are below.
October 30, 2012
UPDATE: The parade still may happen!
2011 NYC Halloween Parade (more by Chris La Putt)
The really wanted to keep it happening, but...
For the first time in our 39 year history, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and the NYPD have CANCELLED the Parade.We had a feeling this would happen. Still a bummer.
We hope that everyone who would have come to the Parade is safe and that those who can volunteer to help out at one of the Emergency Outreach Centers near you.
We will surely miss all of you!
The Park Slope Halloween parade is also cancelled.
October 22, 2012
Meanwhile, the band are putting the finishing touches on their 13th, still-untitled new album which was recorded in Chicago with producer John McEntire. Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley talked about making it recently with Pitchfork:
IK: We've known John a long time. We were crammed in a van with him in 1992-- he was with Seam before the Sea & Cake and Tortoise. I think the Sea & Cake's first show might have been with us. We've made music with him a lot because, when we have done shows together, he would play with us.Yo La Tengo released a limited-edition single, "Stupid Things," last month which serves as a first listen for the new album which will be out sometime in 2013 and you can stream that below.
Every time we made a record with Roger we always considered not making a record with him. We always thought about it, then decided to work with him. But when the idea of John came up, it felt right. A lot of our ideas don't get examined that deeply past the field test.
Pitchfork: Is there a particular way he approaches sound that drew you to him?
GH: We knew that we would have a lot of amazing gear in the studio. He's a musician-- that helps. I felt that there would be a real gravity and like-mindedness, like it wouldn't be so difficult to get at the things we wanted to do musically.
October 19, 2012
October 3, 2012
The Polyphonic Spree at Webster Hall in May (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
Back in May, just before The Polyphonic Spree played Webster Hall (a show which was recorded and will eventually be released as a live album), we mentioned that they were working on a Christmas album. That album now has a name and a release date: it's called Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays Volume One and will be out on October 23. The album will include ten standards, two original instrumentals, and a cover of John Lennon & Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." It also features School of Seven Bells on the track, "Silver Bells." The cover art and tracklist are below.
The Polyphonic Spree will be celebrating their album and 10th anniversary with their Holiday Extravaganza! Tour which sees the collective returning to Webster Hall on December 15. Tickets to that show go on sale Friday (10/5) at noon.
A list of all dates, and the Holidaydream cover art and tracklist are below.
December 19, 2011
photos by Erik Erikson; words by Bill Pearis
One night after James Murphy and other DFA peeps occupied the Kent Ave space, Friday night was the BV Presents evening of programming at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, a ridiculously huge warehouse space that was home to holiday shopping, food vendors and rock music. I was taken aback by how big the performance space was, which had room for at least a dozen picnic tables, a half-pipe (nobody skated Friday night that I saw), and three bar areas, including a mezzanine.
Despite it being an enormous concrete box, sound was quite good and lighting was better than 90% of NYC's venues, and there were very cool video projections that mixed real-time footage of the show with vintage stock footage. As a person who actively avoids Terminal 5, I would frequent this space as-is if it were a real venue.
The evening kicked off with Radical Dads who were just terrific even though they had to play at 7PM. I really do think their spirited '90s style indie rock one of this city's best kept secrets, and their album Mega Rama is one of my favorites of 2011. And they're a great live band.
It was a fun evening all around. Caged Animals sounded terrific and Vincent Cachionne is an engaging, intense frontman who provided the night's confetti quotient. Big Troubles played a short, tight set that stuck mainly to the high points of this year's Romantic Comedy (of which there are many), and Dom were in top party-rock form.
The most fun for myself was getting to DJ with Frankie Rose in between bands. We decided to go song-for-song which is a fun competition, trying to find something that goes well off what the other person just played. This did lead to some fun, weird places, like me playing The Human League's "The Things Dreams Are Made Of" directly before Fucked Up took the stage. These things have a mind of their own...it made sense at the time.
Fucked Up were, as usual, awesome. They basically had just gotten off the plane from their stint opening for the Foo Fighters in Australia but if they were jetlagged you couldn't tell. Damien told the crowd it was great to be in front of people who were there to see them. We got a little over an hour set, which included their spirited cover of "Jingle Bells" which you may have seen them perform on the Anthony Bourdain holiday special and will be available this week as their side of a split 7" with Sloan. Stuff that in yer stocking.
Thanks to everyone who came out. Click through for lots more pics from Friday night's fun.
December 15, 2011
By Bill Pearis
Parlovr at M for Montreal 2011
It's that time of year again, so let's sing it up real pretty. Are we all in the spirit? Better be, because there's a zillion holiday parties going on this weekend, including two thrown by this very blog you are currently reading. How these parties differ from the shows we go to the rest of the year? Only a Scrooge would ask such a question. But to answer it: there's maybe more strand lights. And some Christmas songs thrown in sparsely by DJs or as covers by the bands playing. And some snowflakey sweaters. Whatever you call it, there's lot of great music to go see this weekend. Here's some of it.
Montreal's Parlovr are visiting, playing two shows. Tonight (12/15) they play the Popgun Holiday Party at Glasslands and then tomorrow (12/16) at Mercury Lounge with Shout Out Louds offshoot thing Serenades.
I'm on record as being a fan of this trio who I most recently saw at this year's M for Montreal. I'm not sure any of their records have quite captured the band's live energy, which is why you should go see them. But the recorded version of my favorite song, "Hell/Heaven," comes pretty close. You can download it above. Live, there's lots of flying hair (via singer/guitarists Alex and Jeremy) and flying limbs (lanky drummer Louis) that fits well with Parlovr's spiky indie rock. The band have recorded a holiday track called "Spike the Eggnog" which judging from the video (you can watch below) the spiking involves something much stronger than whiskey.
The Popgun Holiday Party tonight looks to be a good time, with Bell and TWII-faves North Highlands playing as well. There's also a "+ Special Guest" listed as well, no idea who that might be but the Popgun folks usually don't throw around that phrase too lightly.
Tomorrow's show is with Serenades which is a Swedish super-duo consisting of Adam Olenius from Shout Out Louds and Markus Krunegård of Laakso. Their album Criminal Heaven is out next year in the U.S. and is chock-full of sparkling pop that seems aimed directly at the charts. It's slicker than Shout Out Louds (Laakso were pretty shiny, though they sang in Swedish) but still maintains that sharp melodic sense and shaggy, sad-eyed lyrical bent. You can download a track at the top of this post. Serenades also play tonight (12/15) at Knitting Factory.
There's also the Brooklyn Night Bazaar which runs tonight through Saturday. The enormous space (40,000 square feet!), the layout of which was based on the set of Lars Von Triers' Dogville (!!!), is a holiday shopping, eating, drinking and live music extravaganza as you have probably already heard. Tonight (12/15) is James Murphy DJing, along with Poolside, the Crystal Ark Party Machine and Midnight Magic. Saturday night (12/17) is The Hold Steady, Titus Andronicus and Wakey! Wakey!
Friday (12/16) is the BrooklynVegan Presents night with a SPIN Album of 2011 winners Fucked Up, plus Dom, Big Troubles, Caged Animals, and Radical Dads. Frankie Rose and myself will be spinning tunes before the bands start and between sets. And only $10, so that's only two bucks a band. What a bargain! Tickets will be available at the door too. I am DJing starting at 5PM, Frankie will be there from 6PM and bands start at 7PM, with Radical Dads up first. (Then Caged Animals, Big Troubles, Dom, and Fucked Up.) If you're coming, do make an effort to get there in time for them, they're awesome. As are all the bands on the bill I think. Shop, eat, rock out, eat and shop some more, rinse repeat. Say hi.
In addition to DJing our party tomorrow, Frankie Rose is also playing an acoustic set at Glasslands on Saturday (12/17) as part of a Jonathan Toubin benefit that also features Xray Eyeballs, K-Holes and The Stalkers. Frankie Rose's new album, Interstellar, is out in February and I think will surprise a lot of people. She is definitely out of the garage on this one, ditching the reverb and embracing synthesizers, jangly guitars and her inner pop star. Like a lot of folks this year, The Wake seems to be an influence. Fans of Craft Spells are gonna like it.
And to wrap up BV holiday party related items, Saturday's fest with Twin Sister, Widowspeak and Ava Luna is sold out! Hope you got tickets! If you're going, we're raffling off a load of cool prizes -- like every Domino release of 2011 -- with all proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots.
And last but not least we've got Atlas Sound here for two shows this weekend:The Bell House on Saturday (12/17, tickets still available) and Bowery Ballroom on Sunday (12/18, sold out). Andrew Sacher wrote about Atlas Sound's new album Paralax a few weeks ago which I'm gonna quote:
The flow of the album subtly works in the slower, more ambient cuts to space out the relatively high amount (for an Atlas Sound record) of pop standouts. Like many pop experimentalists before him, Bradford Cox has mastered the art of leaving his own weird touch on even the simplest tune. This comes across most strongly on "Mona Lisa," a re-recording of a track that appeared on his Bedroom Databank collection. The song is carried by the sort of upbeat acoustic guitar rock that Bowie experimented with on Hunky Dory, and Bradford sings with a fragile falsetto that brings to mind Lennon's "#9 Dream."I'll add that Parallax has a post-2AM vibe to it and some of Cox's best songs yet. It also reminds me, a bit, of Spoon too.
That's the big stuff. Some more picks, day-by-day, follow.
December 14, 2011
By Bill Pearis
Serenades are a Swedish duo who formed just this year, but you might be familiar with the members. Adam Olenius fronts Shout Out Louds and Markus Krunegård spent most of the '00s in the band Laakso. The band makes their NYC debut this week with shows on Thursday (12/15) at Knitting Factory and a late show Friday (12/16, doors at 10:30) at Mercury Lounge with Montreal's Parlovr opening.
With their indiepop backgrounds you might not be surprised to learn that Serenades are tuneful, with heart-on-sleeve lyrics and anthemic/precious arrangements, though the duo are definitely more full-on radio-friendly pop than Shout out Louds (who are still together) ever were. Serenades' debut album, Criminal Heaven, is out now in Sweden but America is going to have to settle for the digital-only Come Home EP until next year.
The EP's title cut (which is on the album too) is a pouty, holiday-themed track that takes it's cues from Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (The production and melody part, not the pretense or Bono wailing "Thank god it's them instead of you!" part.) You can also watch the video for "Oceans" at the bottom of this post and download the track (via a widget) as well...